Yes… many ESL students don’t know this and find it difficult to believe, but some words in English have no plural form.
These words are called “mass nouns,” that is, nouns that don’t have a plural form in English and can’t be used in plural or with plural verbs. Mass nouns are singular in form.
Mass nouns cannot be counted; thus, they are also called uncountable nouns or non-count nouns, which are common nouns that cannot can’t combine with an indefinite article-a or an- and cannot be modified by a numeral without specifying a unit of measurement.
The words “moose,” “sheep” and “shrimp” do not have a plural form, but they can be used in singular or plural form as they are. For example:
- The moose is/are migrating.
- The sheep is/are ready to be fed.
- The shrimp is/are very well cooked.
Because they can be used with a plural verb, these three are not mass nouns.
Here is a list of words that are “mass nouns.” Share it with your ESL class and start a very interesting game to discover more of these words:
Try to use these words in the plural form and you will discover it is not possible.
There are many other words that belong to this list… remember in essence, mass nouns DO NOT have a plural form.
Ask your ESL teacher to explain “mass nouns” in detail and you will find an interesting learning challenge!
Wether, Weather, and Whether: 3 Confusing Words Explained!
Some words in English are confusing because they are written and sound similarly, and this is the case of wether, weather, and whether. These types of words are called homonyms: words that share the same spelling, or punctuation, or both, but have different meanings.
Here we explain the differences among these 3 words, so that you can impress your ESL class with knowledge that even a lot of native English speakers don’t have:
The spell check in your computer may flag this word as wrongly spelled, normally offering you the options whether or weather to correct it; however, this word does exist, and it has two meanings:
- A male sheep or ram
- A castrated ram or billy goat
- A wether flock invaded the town unexpectedly, scaring everyone in their path.
This is the “state of the atmosphere with respect to heat or cold, wetness or dryness, calm or storm, clearness or cloudiness”, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
- The weather is too harsh to go skiing; it looks like a snowstorm is approaching.
This word is commonly misspelled many write ‘wether’ instead, including many ESL students.
The word whether introduces an indirect question, involving stated or implied alternatives, or presents alternative conditions or possibilities.
- Frank ended up seated next to Ellen, whether by accident or on purpose.
- The training is necessary whether you are an owner, an executive, or a manager.
And here is a shot at using the 3 words in one sentence:
- The shepherd doubted whether his wether would be affected by the tough weather.
Can you come up with any of your own?
If you liked this article, tell all your friends about it. They’ll thank you for it. If you have a blog or website, you can link to it or even post it to your own site (don’t forget to mention our ESL blog as the original source).
Future with going to or will: Is there a difference?
It´s definitely not the same thing. It’s all a matter of decision. Let´s see some examples:
I´m having a party. I´m going to invite lots of people.
Here, the speaker has clearly already made a decision (before the time of speaking). The decision to invite lots of people to the party. There doesn’t seem to be any doubt about it.
Let´s see what happens here:
Hey! I think I´ll have a party! I´ll invite lots of people.
So, in the second example, it is clear to see that the speaker has made the decision spontaneously, at the time of speaking.
Let´s look at some more examples:
Sarah: “I´m going to have a party. I want to invite Tom, but I don´t have his number.”
John: “I´ll give you his number.”
Sarah has made the decision to have a party (she´s going to have one), while John spontaneously decides to give her Tom’s number (I´ll give it to you).
This brings us to another use of will. John also offers to give Sarah Tom’s number. So, will can also be used to offer to do something.
Ann: “I have a terrible headache.”
Tom: “I´ll get you some aspirin.”
What if you’re not sure about what you’ll be doing? Then, you also use will. I think I´ll see Claire tomorrow in class, but I´m not sure she’s going.
We often use I think I´ll…, or I don´t think I´ll….
What about predictions about the future? Well, you can make a prediction by using will. Marta will learn a lot in her English course in Denver. And she´ll enjoy it, too.
However, if your prediction is based on evidence, something you see now, then you should use going to. Look at those clouds! It´s going to rain any minute now.
So, here, we see there´s the matter of certainty. Whenever, you use words like probably, perhaps, I think, I believe, etc…you use will to make your prediction. If however, you’re certain your prediction will come true because all of the evidence points to it , then use going to: “I feel horrible. I`m going to be sick.”
Do you have many more doubts like these? Then consider the option of taking English courses in Denver at LCI. The teachers are experienced and able to answer all of your questions about grammar, or learning English in general.
Great Pronoun Practice to Share at Your ESL School
One of the main things you have to be careful with when writing business English is the use of pronouns. Many ESL students have problems with pronouns, making their writing look unprofessional and amateur.
Take this test at home or share it with your ESL class as a fun and vital pronoun practice activity:
Choose the correct pronoun for each sentence:
1. After the movie, please give the ticket money to Charlie or I/me/myself.
2. Jason and I/me/myself both bought the same kind of tickets for the concert.
3. I hope Nate will take Molly and I/me/myself to the dance.
4. The offer was prepared by the marketing department with some advice from I/me/myself.
5. Camille will talk to whoever/whomever inquires about the cancellation.
6. Who/whom have you talked to about your business idea?
7. Whoever/whomever Sally chooses, we will support him completely.
8. Mildred and I/me/myself are business partners.
9. Who/whom wrote such an outstanding essay?
10. Peter will inform me about his choice, whoever/whomever it is.
11. Whoever/whomever is in charge of this area should know about this inconsistency.
12. Carrie wrote to the person who’s/whose name appeared in the credits.
13. Felicia and he/him organized the whole party.
These are the correct answers:
1. me 2. I 3. me 4. me 5. whoever 6. Whom 7. whomever 8. I 9. Who 10. whoever 11. Whoever 12. whose 13. he
Discuss the pronoun rules with your ESL teacher. It is a basic and very important aspect of writing good business English. Your professional image will thank you for it!
10 Latin Abbreviations Correctly Used in English
There is a correct way to use, in English, abbreviations originated from Latin
terms and phrases. Here we show you the right use of the most common 10.Feel free to share these with your ESL class
and have some fun practicing them!
This abbreviation means exempli gratia or ‘for example’ and it should always be used with the periods and followed by a comma to signal sample examples¾e.g.,¾.
Example: “I like many of the ladies on the Food Network (e.g., Rachael Ray, Giada DeLaurentiis, etc.)”
It means et cetera or ‘and so forth’ and is commonly misspelled ect. It must be preceded by a comma. Do not use etc. in an e.g. list, as abbreviations are redundant.
Example: “The drawer held items like scissors, clips, post-its, pens, markers, etc.”
This means et alia or ‘and others’ and is normally used to substitute the names of all but the primary author in a reference to a multiauthor publication or article. There is no period after et because this word is not an abbreviation. Do not precede it with a comma.
Example: “Possible explanation supplied by Kahneman et al.”
The second word in this term¾alias¾is used alone to mean ‘otherwise known as’ or ‘an assumed name’.
This abbreviation means id est or ‘that is’ and, like e.g., is often wrongly used without periods. Followed by a comma, it precedes a clarification, not examples as e.g. introduces.
Example: “We are traveling to the state in which Grandma lives, i.e., Florida.”
It means floruit or ‘flourished’ and is used in association with a reference to a person’s heyday, commonly in lieu of a range of years denoting the person’s life span.
Example: “John Jones (fl. 1197–1229)”
Meaning nota bene or ‘note well’, it can be easily replaced by the imperative note, and is used in uppercase letters and followed by a colon.
Example: “We are going to the Himalayas in January – N.B.: it is very cold at that time of year, so make sure to bring warm clothes.”
This is a British English abbreviation that means per centum or ‘for each one hundred’ and is spelled in U.S. English as percent.
Example: “Many card issuers now have purchase rates above 20 per cent and cash advance rates above 21 per cent.”
It is the short for in re or ‘in the matter of’ and is commonly followed by a colon. It is often believed to be an abbreviation for reply, especially in email communications.
Example: “These are the claims determined re: Klein Company.”
This is the abbreviation for videlicet or ‘namely’, and unlike e.g., precedes an appositive list, one lead by a reference to a class that the list totally constitutes.
Example: “Each symbol represents one of the four elements, viz. earth, air, fire, and water.”
Note there is not a comma after it.
It means versus or ‘against’, and is abbreviated to v. in legal usage.
The term is usually used on names of boxing or wrestling matches, sports teams encounters or titles of mediocre science fiction movies.
Example: “Lakers tonight vs. Chicago Time: 7:30. On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 710, 1330. Where: Staples Center. Records: Lakers 12-2, Bulls 7-4.”
Can a Typo Leave You Unemployed
First of all, let us explain what a typo is.A typo is a typographical error, those little mistakes you can make when typing very fast… they are very common when writing emails or anything else in your computer, and they can seriously affect your job applications.
In other words, you can remain unemployed if you are not careful about typos.
A recent survey conducted by a respected resources for writers’ website asked 150 executives “How many typos in a resume does it take for you to not consider a job candidate for a position with your company?”
Well… 47% responded “One typo” and 37% responded “Two typos”.
The lesson here: A resume that has errors will be ineffective at least 84% of the time so you better double check it and maybe ask someone else to check it¾perhaps someone at your ESL school¾to make sure it is impeccable.
But why do you think executives are so rigorous about such a tiny mistake that everyone knows is probably not made on purpose?
Obviously because they assume that when someone is applying for a job he or she demonstrates the best they can be and do during the job search, so if a resume is not perfect, that person’s work will not be the best either.
Seriously, you can’t expect much from someone who is not careful enough to check the grammar, spelling and punctuation on their resume before handling it to a respected company, right?
The difference between “being” and “been”
Confused as to when to use being
and when to use been
? Is is that important to know the difference? Are both pronounced the same way? It is most definitely very important to know the difference between the two. Let´s start with the ONE thing they have in common. They are both participles of the verb “to be”. This is why a lot of students have a hard time; we’re dealing with the same verb. Now, the main difference is that being
is the present participle
(all present participles end in “–ing”, like swimming, running, learning). On the other hand been
is the past participle
(some past participles end in “–ed”, like learned, studied, others are irregular like, run, swum, written, spoken).Now, let´s see how each is used.
The present participle, being, is used in the passive voice, namely, the passive form of the present continuous or progressive, and the past continuous or progressive. Let´s look at this more closely.
1) Passive form of the present continuous or progressive: English courses are being taught in Denver. Classes are being given every day. Sarah is being interviewed for a teaching position as we speak.
Here, we clearly see that these actions are in progress in the present, or at the time of speaking, this is why we use the present continuous. Being is necessary in its passive form.
2) Passive form of the past continuous or progressive: English courses were being taught when I arrived in Denver. Classes were being given every day. The day I arrived, Sarah was being interviewed for a teaching position.
Here, on the other hand, we see that the actions were in progress at a specific moment in the past (when I arrived in Denver). But in both continuous tenses we use being in the passive forms.
The past participle, been, is also used in the passive voice, but can also be used in several other tenses, as well.
Uses of been:
1) Present perfect: I’ve been to Denver twice. I’ve never been late to class. I’ve been an English student for five years.
2) Present perfect continuous or progressive: I have been teaching English for over 15 years. I’ve been working in Denver.
3) Past perfect: Denver was a great place to study! I had never been there before. I had never been with such interesting, friendly people.
4) Past perfect continuous or progressive: When I first came to Denver, I had been studying English for five years. I had been looking for a different kind of learning experience.
5) Passive form of the present perfect: Many classes have been given this semester. English students have been taught well. Several topics have been covered.
6) Passive form of the past perfect: George did very well on his test. The grammar had been explained very clearly.
Finally, let´s consider how each is pronounced. Being is pronounced as two syllables, be-ing, while been, is just one syllable, and sounds like “bin”, as in “recycle bin”.
If you’re interested in learning more about these and other topics, you should consider taking English lessons in Denver at LCI. The teachers have years of experience and will gladly clear up your doubts.